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Beaches and an olive oil factory

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 04 & 05 July 2017

Tuesday 04 July, beaches and an olive oil factory

Forest fire at Keri Forest fire at KeriWhen we drive to Keri this morning, we see clouds of smoke from far away and along the road men stand with sticks and shovels to extinguish the fire. A little further on the road is a small fire truck with fire hoses, but apparently the fire is expanding rapidly. We are waved to drive on and we do that quickly, we do not want to be a burden. Because of the high temperatures and the drought after months without rain of any significance, forest fires break out throughout Greece every year. For example, last year, 3 months after our visit, a large part of the forests on the island of Thassos burned down.
The coast at the Keri lighthouseWe drive through Keri, a traditionally built mountain village with narrow cobbled alleys, to the Keri lighthouse at the coast. The road to it is narrow, also through the village but fortunately we do not encounter much traffic. The lighthouse itself is not very special but the rocky coast here is beautiful. Steep cliffs that go almost perpendicular into the sea and into the limestone a lot of openings in the rocks that resemble caves have been created. You can only see most of them when you book a boat excursion or rent a boat. There are signs on the grounds that the property is privately owned and that consumption is mandatory. There is a provisional cafë where we first order a coffee.
Teije at the cliffs near the Keri lighthouse The rocky coast at KeriThe coffee is not very tasty but the view makes everything good, what a beautiful view. It seems that the most fantastic sunsets can be seen from this spot and I can believe that. But at night it is very busy here and if you read the reviews on the internet, the owner of the café makes clever use of that. The owner may also be responsible for the fact that the largest flag of Greece (almost 37 by 18 meters) can no longer be seen. It hung on a mast at a height of 50 meters but since the piece of land is private property it does not seem to be hoisted anymore. If that is not true, we would love to hear it. We take a short walk on the rocky terrain and in some places we can almost look straight down, quite scary if you are afraid of heights.
Because the knee of Teije still hursts a lot, we are not going to do very much today, so we are looking for a different beach, because we now want the car to be better in sight because we do not want them, whoever they were, to try again to break in. We drive along the west coast again but on most beautiful beaches it is quite busy.
The island of Agios Sostis on Zakynthos The island of Agios Sostis on ZakynthosBut at Agios Sostis we find at the Ifalos Beachbar a small beach with not too large a crowd and we look out on the island which is also called Agios Sostis and where you can walk to over a wooden bridge. The island was created after some land broke off of the mainland in the 17th century after a severe earthquake. You have to pay to go there because it is privately owned and there is a bar with discotheque. We mainly look at the incoming aircraft that seem to fly just above the island when coming to the airport of Zakynthos.
View from Ifalos Beach bar in Ahios SostisThe water is wonderfully warm but it is also getting busier, you notice that it is almost high season. After a while we sit on the terrace of the beach bar where we take a light lunch with a salad. It is wonderful here in the shade and I'm glad we did not stay in the east of Greece where it is still 8 to 12 degrees warmer than here. The temperatures here are between 30 and 35 degrees during the day but at night it does not get any cooler than 24 degrees, ideal to sit outside for a long time. After lunch we go to the beach again for a while and then drive around a bit more, but we do not do much more.

Wednesday 05 July 2017, Laganas beach and to a olive oil factory

All about the loggerhead turtle on Zakynthos The Laganas beach on ZakynthosToday we also do not do very much but we want to see if we can observe the incoming planes from a bit closer and for that we go to Laganas, the most popular holiday resort of the island. The town itself is nothing for us, a real example of mass tourism where loud restaurants, bars and shops demand the attention of the massively touring tourists, especially young people. We drive to the Laganas beach where large signs inform that the loggerhead turtle lays her eggs here and that you should not disturb any nests.
It is quite busy on the beach but funny enough there is a whole middle section where almost no one is. This probably has to do with the flight path of the aircraft, because they go exactly over it before they land at the airport a few hundred meters inland.
An airplane above Laganas beach, Zakynthos An airplane above Laganas beach, ZakynthosWe think it is quite special to see the aircrafts up so close. I have something with planes, even though I do not like flying. But I find it very astonishing that those metal heavyweights can stay in the air. In winter there is at most one plane a day arriving on the island but in the summer there are dozens and in the 2.5 hours that we are on the beach, there are a lot of thmn flying over our heades while we lay in the sea or on the beach. I only don't want to think that one comes down too soon.
Machines for pressing olives Old equipment at the Aristeon olive press factoryBut we survive our time on the beach and are ready for a cool drink, it seems to get hotter here, too. But we also want to do something except only sitting on terraces and the beach and we have seen a few times a sign pointing to an olive oil factory, called Aristeon near Lithakia, that's where we go now. We arrive at a site with a large hall around which all sorts of machines stand, modern and old, used for pressing olives. Greece is the second or third largest olive oil producer in the world, although very little oil comes on the market as original Greek.
The Greeks never worked, as was done in Spain and Italy, worked on brand awareness, but that is also because there are many small olive groves where farmers, often family farms, which can not make mass products with the same quality. Greek olive oil is only sold sparsely abroad under a Greek brand name, but it is exported with tankers to, for example, Italy where it is mixed with the local olive oil and then sold as an Italian brand. It is remarkable that we hear everywhere that the Greek olive oil would be of a much better quality than, for example, the Italian and Spanish, it contains more antioxidants that protect the body. I do not like olive oil myself, but Teije does, and he says it also has more flavor and is spicier.
Equipment at the Aristeon olive press factory Teije at the Aristeon olive press factoryThe Aristeon is a modern olive oil factory with a museum where the equipment is shown that has been used in the course of time to make olive oil and you can also follow the whole process as the oil is made. They have done that very cleverly because you can go inside for free, taste the different types of olives and of course also buy them. It is funny that there are only Dutch people walking around when we are there. But we do take a few bottles of olive oil with us, so in terms of marketing, the design of the museum is a very good move. Other Greeks can learn something from that. They even have a folder in 18 languages.


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